Derek Dietrich didn’t wear traditional head gear during pregame warmups Monday afternoon.
Dietrich’s teammates presented him with a customized white hard hat — the type construction workers use — with his name and jersey number and the Marlins logo on the front.
Dietrich embraced the team’s humorous gesture and wore it while he and the team stretched and later during batting practice.
One day after one of the scariest moments of his baseball career, Dietrich was just glad to be back.
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“I’m feeling a lot better today,” Dietrich said. “I’m a little sore, but that’s to be expected. I’ve been hit by a lot of balls in my career, but I’m glad this was nothing serious. I’m very thankful and just happy to be ready to play baseball.”
Dietrich drove in a career-high four runs Sunday during the Marlins’ 7-3 win over the Braves.
Before the game ended, however, Dietrich found himself face down on the dugout floor after being hit by a line drive foul ball that ricocheted off the back wall and hit him on the back of the head.
“I never saw the ball,” Dietrich said. “I was just sitting getting ready for my at-bat the way I always do, and I just felt the impact.”
Dietrich knows far too well what it’s like to be hit by a baseball.
Dietrich has been hit eight times by pitches, which is tied for the most by a National League player.
For his career, Dietrich has been hit 38 times in 854 plate appearances.
But Dietrich’s run-in with a baseball Sunday was much more painful and random.
“It was just one of those things because I’m always in tune with the action,” Dietrich said. “I was getting prepared for my next at-bat. You sit down just to get off your feet for a minute, and it was just one of those things. The ball just made its way right through and hit the back wall, and I didn’t even know how it ricocheted and hit me. It shocked me. And I was in pain.”
Initial X-rays taken after the game came back negative, and Dietrich was later evaluated and discharged after clearing several tests, including concussion tests.
Dietrich remained in Atlanta overnight and spent the night at the team hotel. Before flying back to Miami Monday morning, Dietrich was reexamined by team trainers and said he felt no ill-effects from the incident.
Dietrich said he didn’t even know Marcell Ozuna had hit a solo home run in the ninth inning until much later since it happened while he was being attended to in the Marlins dugout.
“I never lost consciousness or anything, I was just dazed,” Dietrich said. “I passed all the concussion tests. I think the only question I answered wrong was the score. Everything came back negative luckily, and the CT scan was clear, so it was all good.”
Dietrich rejoined the team Monday afternoon and participated in all the usual pregame activities, but was kept out of the starting lineup, however.
Manager Don Mattingly said he likely would have kept Dietrich out anyway with the Pirates’ starting lefty Jeff Locke on Monday night.
“It was a good text to get this morning seeing that [Dietrich] was OK,” Mattingly said. “Everything was clear overnight. It was scary situation that happened so fast.”
Ironically, the scare came after Dietrich played a huge role in helping the Marlins snap their five-game skid this season against the Braves.
Dietrich hit a 432-foot, go-ahead, two-run home run to put the Marlins ahead 3-1 and later hit a double that added two more.
“Waking up [Monday], I’m just grateful and happy I’ll be able to play,” Dietrich said.
▪ Giancarlo Stanton was kept out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game with soreness on his right side, although Mattingly said he would be available to pinch hit Monday night, if not likely by Tuesday.
▪ Reliever Mike Dunn said he felt good a day after throwing one scoreless inning for Single A Jupiter, which the Marlins hope will be his final rehab session. Dunn could make his season debut as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (7-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (5-3, 2.53 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (3-3, 4.15 ERA) vs. Pirates LHP Jonathan Niese (5-2, 4.42 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.